Born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1923, Luc Hoffmann, co-founder of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and grandson of one of the founders of Hoffmann-Laroche, now known as the pharmaceutical giant Roche, died at his home in southern France on 22 July 2016.
Hoffmann co-founded WWF in 1961 and was the foundation’s first vice president until 1988. In addition to helping to found the WWF internationally, he founded the WWF in France and Greece. He also founded the environmental research centre la Tour du Valat, which engages in research to conserve mediterranean wetlands.
From his youth he had a passionate interest in birds, obtained a zoology degree from Basel University, and dedicated much of his life to defending wetlands from property developers, such as la Camargue in southern France where he spent 60 years of his life.
Yolanda Kakabadse, president of WWF International said: “Luc Hoffmann was a successful environmental visionary, who had an impact both as an individual and through others by bringing public attention to the need to protect the environment. He dedicated his life to protecting the environment on the ground and via philanthropy. Without Luc Hoffmann, there would have been no WWF. We will alway value his contribution to our environment.”
Thomas Vellacott, directer general of WWF Switzerland said: “Luc Hoffmann was a pioneer of environmental protection who motivated an entire generation to preserve endangered species and habitats. He was one of the fathers of our organisation. He greatly inspired all of us and we are indebted to him.”